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To my understanding, Jehovah's Witnesses try to exclude pagan influences from their practice. Whether or not they do, what is their reason for doing this?

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That's like asking why a mouse would exclude a cat. –  Joel Coehoorn Dec 21 '11 at 4:31
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@Joel: JWs go out of their way to avoid anything derived from pagan practices, far more than other Christians. One of the best-known examples is their refusal to celebrate Christmas, which the rest of us generally have no problem with even though we know where it came from. I think that attitude is what the question is about. –  Mason Wheeler Dec 21 '11 at 12:59
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@JoelCoehoorn: Is it that simple? Obviously a mouse is in danger when around a cat. However that is not open to interpretation. Do you feel Christians are committing sin when celebrating Pagan customs? I assumed this had to do more with the interpretation from Jehovah's Witnesses. You're painting it in more black and white terms. –  rpeg Dec 21 '11 at 19:37
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5 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Based on this 15 December 2007 article from The Watchtower, called Can a Pagan Holiday Be Made Christian?, the answer comes from 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 (New World Translation).

14Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? 15Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Be´li·al? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? 16And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: “I shall reside among them and walk among [them], and I shall be their God, and they will be my people.” 17“‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take YOU in.’”

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For reference, upper-case you is the NWT's way to indicate plurality. –  TRiG Jan 1 '12 at 21:53
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As a Jehovah's Witness in doing research on these Holidays I found that they are celebrations founded when Rome in the years 100-300ad tried to unite all the different beliefs practiced at that time they took the names of the pagan holidays and gave them Christian names . They are still Pagan and created back in the days of Nimrod . He built the tower of Babel. The Extended Babel is found in Rev 17-18, called Babylon the Great. In Rev 18:4 God warns us to get free from her and her practices. We therefore have nothing to do with those holidays which were and stil are founded by Satan through Nimrod. this is a condensed version but I hope it helps

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This is not bad, but it would be better if you cited some references that support your answer. What makes a good supported answer? –  David Stratton Nov 2 '12 at 19:08
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Welcome to Christianity.SE and thanks for taking the time to answer. Yes it does help ... although we would love to see the expantions as well. Summaries are great and you should keep that in your answer, but more detail for those that want it would be great, esp references to official doctrinal statements etc. –  Caleb Nov 2 '12 at 20:33
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Q. "Why do Jehovah's Witnesses exclude pagan influences from their doctrine?"

A. Because the doctrine we who are members of the unified worldwide Christian congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses strive to the very best of our imperfect ability to obey is the doctrine found in God's word the Holy Bible... and I quote:

"Therefore do not become partakers with them; 8 for YOU were once darkness, but YOU are now light in connection with [the] Lord. Go on walking as children of light, 9 for the fruitage of the light consists of every sort of goodness and righteousness and truth. 10 Keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord; 11 and quit sharing with [them] in the unfruitful works that belong to the darkness, but, rather, even be reproving [them]" ~ Ephesians 4:7-11

"Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? 15 Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Be′li·al? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: “I shall reside among them and walk among [them], and I shall be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 “‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take YOU in.’” 18 “‘And I shall be a father to YOU, and YOU will be sons and daughters to me,’ says Jehovah the Almighty.”" ~ 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

"I solemnly charge you *before God and Christ Jesus*, who is destined to judge the living and the dead, and by his manifestation and his kingdom, 2 preach the word, be at it urgently in favorable season, in troublesome season, reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all long-suffering and [art of] teaching. 3 For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, whereas they will be turned aside to false stories." ~ 2 Timothy 4:1-4

"Now this is the basis for judgment, that the light has come into the world BUT MEN HAVE LOVED THE DARKNESS RATHER THAN THE LIGHT, FOR THEIR WORKS WERE WICKED. 20 For he that PRACTICES vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, IN ORDER THAT HIS WORKS MAY NOT BE REPROVED. 21 But he that does what is true comes to the light, in order that his works MAY BE MADE MANIFEST AS HAVING BEEN WORKED IN HARMONY WITH GOD.”" ~ John 3:19-21

~ NOTE: I am a dedicated and baptized member of the worldwide unified Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

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JW's pick and choose which pagan practices are O.K. or not. Sorry, not the individual JW's (they get no say in anything, nor are they supposed to investigate anything that isn't JW literature). Why do JW's go on a honeymoon after they marry? This is a definate pagan practice from Babylon no less!: Honey moon. In ancient Babylon, the father of the bride supplied the groom with a months supply of honey-mead as a present. Some Eastern european cultures suggest that the bride be taken and hidden for a month, in case the brides family didn't approve of the marriage..Wedding rings? JW's wear wedding rings. :An ancient Roman custom. It signified a financial arrangement between the betrothed families. All in all, I learnt a lot of Biblical stuff I didn't know from the local JW elder. A lot of Bible 'knowledge' most people, including myself, had was/is wrong. The JW's, I believe, are correct in a lot of their Bible interpretations, wrong in others. When my research leads me to believe what the JW's also believe,(the trinity, the torture stake, satan etc) the local elder says that is Jehovah imparting His knowledge to you. When my research brings me answers that the JW's don't believe in, this elder says this 'independent thinking' is actually satan. When I am commanded to 'Make sure of all things', what it really means is: Get all your facts and answers from JW publications only!. If only the JW publications provided a list of references and scholars for their claims. Anything else is urinating on my back and telling me it's raining.

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This does not answer the question! The question asks why JWs try to do this, and explicitly avoids asking whether they are successful. Your answer is entirely about problems you see with JW practice and does not address their motivation. –  James T Oct 21 '13 at 14:35
    
This isn't an answer, it's your opinion. Your opinion may be valid, I am not arguing that. All I am saying is that the way the forums work you should answer, give some sources, present your information, maybe a short sentence or 2 of opinion and then let people figure out what they believe. –  Jeremy Nov 15 '13 at 23:56
    
Also, about the publications, we can read from anything we see fit to. I do equal research from other sources and from our own publications. I usually start in one of our publications and branch out. Our publications have a lot of well researched information and can at least point me in the right direction research wise. –  Jeremy Nov 16 '13 at 0:03
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When I was learning I asked a question similar to this. I asked why we don't celebrate the holidays or celebrate holidays that seem harmless like thanksgiving.

My bible study teacher put it like this. You are walking and see a piece of candy laying in gutter. The candy is sweet and tastes good, but you just don't know its origins, whats touched it, or why it was thrown there.

Holidays are like that candy. They are appealing and fun, but we don't know their origins. Most of the holidays we do know their origins and they are pagan. The first century Christians didn't observe these celebrations and we should follow their example.

If there is even a small chance that these would anger god I wouldn't risk it. Every time the Jews strayed from true worship and worshiped other gods and idols god punished them for it. My love for god keeps me from doing things that may displease him.

I Looked through the teach book and found the section that my answer is based on. Its from What does the bible really teach? Free to download. It explains everything we believe.

We do celebrate some things, such as weddings, anniversaries, and a few others. I know why on most and very little on some. If we have questions on why, then we ask an elder and they usually have a good answer with a bunch of scriptures.

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Welcome to the site! This next has nothing to do with the quality of your answer, it's just standard to help new visitors avoid misunderstanding the site (as I did at first.) As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following two posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": help page and How we are different than other sites? –  David Stratton Nov 9 '13 at 21:41
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